Monthly Archives: August 2005

Hackers & Painters

I just read Paul Graham’s Hackers and Painters. Paul Graham is the founder of one of the first web companies, viaWeb, an online storefront hosting company that was bought by Yahoo! in 1997 and is now Yahoo! Stores.

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Knocking on wood doesn't work

Funny how things work…. on Sunday, Gay and I were talking about how long it’s been since we had any technical issues with the site. I even knocked on the table and said “Watch, something will happen tomorrow”. Today, two days later, our bandwidth provider had a problem with a downstream bandwidth provider’s router owned by WilTel so the site was inaccessible from about 11:10am to 11:53am. Our bandwidth provider got it resolved quickly, but I wonder if we hadn’t known about it how long it would have taken.

These are the worst problems to have because you can’t be notified about them. We can monitor our own hardware (and we do) so we can know when something goes awry. And we can monitor the first-level router from our hardware. But the problem router was in San Francisco, far away from us. So the only way to know when a problem like this occurs is to test the entire line from the outside in periodically, which we also do. But who do you call? Which bandwidth provider is the problem? It takes time just to know where the problem is before you can act on it and get it fixed.

Anyway, Yipes was very helpful.

Theatres on their way out

The days of “simultaneous release” for movies is nearing, DVDs now are released within four months of the theatre release, sometimes sooner. Amazingly, it’s not Hollywood that is upset about that prospect, but the theater owners. Poor, poor theatre-owners. Did you think you would have a business forever? Did you think people liked buying a gallon of Coke for $5, sitting in uncomfortable chairs and have their feet stick to the floor? The only business that treats its customers worse is the airline industry.

Hurricane Katrina (and the waves)

Hurricane Katrina will hit New Orleans today after killing seven people in Florida and will likely kill many more. My parents live in Florida, a place hit by several hurricanes every single year that always kill people. You’d think fewer people would die from hurricanes given the advance notice of them. Yet, in 2004 alone, 218 people were killed from hurricanes.

Yet my mom fears for my life because I live in an earthquake-prone area. You have to go back to 1965 (40 years!), to match that number of deaths from earthquakes. Between 1965 and 2005, 220 people have been killed in earthquakes in the US. And 188 (85%) were killed in just three of the largest earthquakes.

Ex-bosses that we still like

In an odd coincidence, on Friday we visited with Gay’s first boss and my second boss. We had lunch with the first boss Gay had at Adobe, Ian Blaine, a founder and the bigwig at thePlatform. Early on in the days of Recipezaar we would have beers with him at a neighborhood pub and talk about thePlatform and Recipezaar. Frankly, I thought thePlatform would never fly — streaming media on the internet in 2000 can’t work! But it did and thePlatform is doing great, led by Ian (and others, I’m sure). I’m sure he thought Recipezaar was a sure-failure. I’m glad we were both wrong. :)

That night, my second boss that I had when I lived in DC, Adam Blum, flew into Seattle for the HOTS triathlon on Vashon. I met Adam at my first professional job out of college, he left and recruited me away. I’m glad he did because that was my second favorite job I’ve ever had (second to Recipezaar, of course). Adam and I both went on to Microsoft in Seattle (he went to Microsoft Consulting in DC first), then Adam left Microsoft shortly after I did for Silicon Valley to be the CTO at CommerceOne, Talaris, Systinet and now Good Technology. Adam is one of the few people that I’ve met in my professional career that never fails to impress me; he started and sold his own company in college, he’s written three books (the first written while he was getting his Master’s Degree in Computer Science), has four kids, he teaches a graduate course at Berkeley, he does two triathlons each weekend and can talk more intelligently (and quickly) about tech issues than most people I’ve heard speak. He’s the most Type A person I’ve ever met, which is even more shocking to me given that I am an extreme Type B. I have to say these nice things about him since he claims to read this site. :) After the triathlon, Adam brought us a six-pack of one of his favorite beers from his area, Lagunitas IPA, a very hoppy beer and a bottle of Ridge Wine, also from his area of California. I’m looking forward to drinking that tonight.

Levi Leipheimer wins!

Levi Leipheimer wins the Tour of Germany, beating the favorite, Jan Ullrich. Levi placed 6th in the Tour de France this year.

L'Equipe saisissent aux pailles

The French sports newspaper, L’Equipe, continues to accuse Lance of taking drugs, now with re-tested samples from 1999. The Tour de France blog points out how flawed L’Equipe’s evidence is. More coverage from BBC. Lance denies it, just as he always has:

I will simply restate what I have said many times: I have never taken performance-enhancing drugs.

Yet again, a European newspaper has reported that I’ve tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. L’Equipe is reporting that my 1999 samples were positive.

The lab cannot link the results to a sportsman and can therefore not confirm the link made by L’Equipe between the test results and the documents they publish
Statement by France’s national anti-doping laboratory
The paper even admits in its own article that the science in question here is faulty and that I have no way to defend myself.

Richard VirenqueThe French are angry because French riders are so bad in the Tour and their hero and only hope, Richard Virenque, was nailed in 1998 for taking drugs in the scandal that almost shut down the Tour that year. One of the reasons Lance won every year since 1999, and the reason so many Americans are doing so well in European cycling, is because the Europeans can’t cheat anymore thanks to strict drug-testing. This was also a great (my only?) opportunity to show the photo I took of Richard Virenque being interviewed at the 2005 Tour this year. :)

VeloNews has reactions to the story, including my favorite:

Raymond Poulidor (three-time runner-up and five-time third place finisher of the Tour de France): This is ridiculous. Why not retroactively test all the way back to 1903?

Radiohead Blog

Thom York is blogging the recording of their new album. It’s pretty incoherent, but it has photos!

US Cycling

It looks like Levi Leipheimer will win the Tour of Germany tomorrow. Levi is picked as one of the most likely Americans, among Floyd Landis and Tom Danielson, to succeed Armstrong as a Tour de France winner.

Redesign

It’s been a year since the last redesign, right after we were married. I’ve been sick of the design for many months but was too busy and even when not, I never sat down to do a redesign. Tonight, Gay went to a friend’s bachelorette party and I opened a bottle of wine and sat down and just did it. And there it is. Let’s see if it can last a year before I get sick of it. To lessen the chance of it getting boring quickly, I can switch out the photo easily and, assuming I have a good photo to use, I will. I hope.

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